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The Blessed West


by Thomas Mower Martin,1910


'Tis forty years since first to Canada

I cam from blythe old England's happy shore

Passed through Quebec and ever westward bore


Till in Muskoka's woods I came to stay

Hence summer short and winter's long delay

Drove me to old Toronto to restore

My fortunes during thirty years or more

Then to the blessed west I made my way

Now I look back on the wasted years of cold

In winter and in summer burning heat

Too late to start again now I am old

In the mild climate of this calm retreat

But not too late to rest for the short time

I have to spend within this blessed clime.


Martin wrote this poem while in Victoria for a year plus 1910-1911, then he was called back to Toronto for his wife's illness and soon death. He never traveled after that.

Thomas Mower Martin travelled west on the Canadian Pacific Railway 10 times,  1887-1911. He was one of a few artists the CPR gave free passes to so the artists might see the rest of Canada and paint their wonderful pictures. CPR had only one stipulation in return for the free passes, that they would be able to choose paintings they could use for the advertising. for promotional brochures or to hang in any of their several hotels across the country.

Martin was so amazed and impressed with the beauty of western Canada that he once said, 'If I had known this was here I would never have settled in the east'.  

Here is a poem he wrote while in Victoria enjoying a lovely mild winter.